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Chupzang Nunnery

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Chupzang Nunnery
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Chupzang Nunnery
Location within Tibet
Coordinates: 29°42′45″N 91°7′19″E / 29.7125°N 91.12194°E / 29.7125; 91.12194
Monastery information
Location: Lhasa Prefecture, Tibet, China
Founded: 1665 (formally 1696)
Type: Tibetan Buddhist
Colleges: Part of Sera Monastery

Chupzang Nunnery is a historical nunnery, belonging to Sera Monastery. It is located north of Lhasa in Tibet.


The hermitage is believed to have been founded by Phrin las rgya mtsho (d. 1667), who was the regent of Tibet from 1665 to his death. He was a student of the Fifth Dalai Lama and requested his permission to build a hermitage for eight to sixteen monks in the foothills above his native Nyangbran and invited the Fifth Dalai Lama to perform a “site investigation” (sa brtag) to determine the most auspicious location on which to build the monastery. The Dalai Lama made the treasure (gter) discovery of the self-arisen stone image of the Buddha that is still located in Chupzang’s lower temple. However, the initial hermitage fell into ruin and the official founding of the monastery is credited to Phrin las rgya mtsho's nephew, Sde srid sangs rgyas rgya mtsho, in around 1696.

The hermitage belonged to Chubzang ye shes rgya mtsho for sometime who built a four-pillar temple with rear chapel and porticos at the site. It was later under the possession of Byang chub chos ’phel (1756-1838) and Khri byang sku phreng gsum pa blo bzang yeshes, who was a junior tutor to the living 14th Dalai Lama.

In 1921, Pha bong kha bde chen snying po (1878-1941) stayed at Chubzang and published his teachings into his most famous work, Liberation in Our Hands (Rnam grol lagbcangs).

In the 1950s, the site began to be used as a religious retirement community by elderly Lhasans, who constructed small huts in which they could live out the final years of their lives in intensive Buddhist practice. Nuns began to renovate the site in the 1980s and founded the modern nunnery as it is today in 1984, and has since grown into one of the largest nunneries in the Lhasa Valley. However, somewhat unusually, the houses are owned individually by the nuns, but the nunnery has an administrative body and a a site for communal gathering.


The Tibetan and Himalayan Library

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